World Football

Jose Mourinho Press Conference: Real Madrid Coach's Reaction to Nani Controversy

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 05:  Nani of Manchester United reacts after being sent off during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second leg match between Manchester United and Real Madrid at Old Trafford on March 5, 2013 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIMarch 5, 2013

Jose Mourinho has never shied away from sharing his honest opinions, and he continued to give blunt explanations for the controversy over Nani’s red card in Real Madrid’s 2-1 victory over Manchester United.

A video of Mourinho’s comments following the match can be found via Sky Sports.

The Madrid manager openly admitted that his team was outplayed, as BBC Sport noted. 

Manchester United grabbed a 1-0 lead when Sergio Ramos deflected a cross into his own net, giving the Red Devils a 2-1 lead on aggregate.

The hosts had a clear advantage at this point, to the delight of the supporters at Old Trafford. But in the 56th minute, Nani lifted his leg in attempt to get control of a clearance and collided with Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa.

The challenge was certainly dangerous, but it also appeared to be entirely unintentional. Referee Cuneyt Cakir still sent the Portuguese winger off the pitch.  

Mourinho revealed after the match that Arbeloa also felt the contact was not deliberate, with ITV.com quoting the manager saying, “I know there was contact, [Alvaro] Arbeloa told me he thinks Nani didn't see him, but there is quite a violent contact.”

Once United was down to 10 men, Madrid grasped firm control of the match. Sensational goals from Luka Modric and former Red Devils star Cristiano Ronaldo gave Madrid a victory and a spot in the quarterfinals.

Debate will surely rage over the incident in the coming weeks, as one of the world’s biggest clubs is now out of the premier club competition largely due to a controversial call.

Mourinho’s comments will likely add fuel to the fire, as his admission of doubt over the referee’s decision will further legitimize criticism toward Cakir. 

It is ultimately disappointing that the enduring storyline from such an intriguing matchup will involve the officiating. 

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